Posts Tagged ‘Song

30
Dec
08

Best/Worst of 2008 #4; Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham

pardon me for being frank, but this picture makes me want to puke my guts up

When Arsenal hosted Tottenham on the 29th of October it was a tale of two seasons. For Spurs, theirs was a season of high expectations, quickly followed by failure and derision that had culminated in the firing of Juande Ramos and appointment of Harry Redknapp. For Arsenal, despite a couple of blips against Fulham and Hull, hopes were still very high for the senior team and the world was delighting over the exploits of Wenger’s youth team. It took just 90 minutes for Tottenham to expose Arsenal’s frailties in the game that shook Arsenal’s 2008/2009 season.

It started about as bad as a game could. David Bentley, a failure of Arsenal’s academy and constant press loudmouth scored the goal of his lifetime. I mean that in the most derisive sense possible because it wasn’t as much a great goal as it was an utter failure on the part of Arsenal’s defense. From the failed clearance to the fact that Almunia was caught out in no-man’s land Arsenal failed completely. To his rat-faced credit, Bentley did strike the ball well but had any component of the Arsenal team had their head in the game it would have been a wasted shot. Unfortunately Arsenal losing their heads has since become a familiar theme.

But the worst part, the part that stings the most is the knowledge that no lead is safe in the hands of this Arsenal team and Spurs amazing comeback proved that to the world. Up 4-2 and seemingly cruising, Arsene hauled off Walcott, van Persie, and Nasri and put on Eboue, Diaby, and Song — you know, to shore up the defense.

Within one minute of the final sub Tottenham scored twice and shredded the once great Arsenal defense. Of course, the final scoreline is not all the fault of the three subs but it’s no coincidence that those three players are singled out for the most fan derision. It seems like those three are most likely to be on the pitch when some once in a lifetime defensive frailty is exposed.

Letting Tottenham back from a 4-2 lead and exposing our supposed defensive players for the quality they truly are would be a huge enough pivot point of the season yet this game had one more surprise in store for us. Several weeks later, in what is easily the biggest fallout from this game, William ‘Cappy’ Gallas decided to let the whole world know, via the French press, that there was a huge dressing room bust up at half time of that game. Gallas threw in some stuff about disrespectful players and people who think they’ve already arrived when they haven’t done as much as his Greatness, and how when he was a kid he had to kick the ball up hill, in the snow, both ways. Oh yeah, and they should all GET OFF HIS LAWN!

Wenger was left with no choice but to strip Gallas of his captaincy. Cesc was the obvious choice and was quickly appointed. Yet, the problem is that despite a brief upturn there still seems to be some unrest at the club over who leads the team and how they do it. Now with Cesc out for four months with an injury the leadership gap at the club is more glaring than ever.

Defensive woes, a leadership gap, and Diaby, Eboue, and Song exposed for their lack of polish. It didn’t all happen at once, but I can think of no better game that highlights those three stories of 2008 than the 4-4 draw against Tottenham.

Transfer News

Reports have hotted up around supposed Arsenal transfer targets Shay Given and Andrei Arshavin. This morning the Telegraph (who are fairly reliable — for an English newspaper) is reporting that Arsenal have offered £8m for the Newcastle #1. He supposedly wants £60,000 a week in salary but I don’t think that would be too much given Arsenal’s bizarre salary structure. Rumor has it that Spuds and Citeh are also interested in Given, Spuds because their world class keeper is on his way back to PSV and Citeh because everyone on the planet is linked to Citeh.

Meanwhile, multiple sources are reporting that Wenger is “mulling over” a bid for Arshavin. I’d rather he mulled a bid for someone like reported Real Madrid target Antonio Valencia from Wigan. The price tag has to be better and we don’t have to do business with those unseemly racists at Gazprom.

Bad news for the people who wanted Arsene to call up Arteta from Everton, it seems like they are reluctant to let their best players leave for some reason. We all knew that was going to happen, really. Everton would be fools to let Arteta go and unless Arsenal did something like unsettle the player and force their hand (which supposedly we don’t do) I can’t see Arteta joining us for less than something like £20m. More?

Worse though is that that article indicates Mark Hughes is in the market for pretty much the exact same players that Arsenal are in the market for: Premiership tested players. This means that Arsenal are likely to end up in a  bidding war with Citeh over at least one if not more than one player.

This is strongly reminiscent of when Abramovich stormed in to the league and basically just waited for Arsenal to make a bid and doubled it. Remember that year? I do, it was a nightmare.

Part 3 of the year in review tomorrow and I’m sure there will be more transfer rumors. See you then.

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27
Nov
08

Gazidis Starts Shopping and I Make a Case for Appiah

turbaconducken

The traditional Turbaconducken -- a bacon wrapped Turkey stuffed with bacon wrapped chicken and bacon wrapped duck.

Happy Thanksgiving, Americans! Hey, do you know what the Brits call Thanksgiving?*

Anyway, while Americans are gorging themselves on what should have been our national bird the rest of the world is hard at work, playing in the UEFA Cup, complaining about their teammates, angling for a move away from Arsenal, you know, a typical day at the office.

Plucked from his Thanksgiving table and flown across the Atlantic to enjoy Square Pie in dreary London, Arsene Wenger gave Ivan Gazidis his stamp of approval during a face-to-face meeting. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until January before Gazidis will be officially taking over many of the duties left undone by David Dein’s departure in 2007 and Edelman’s departure earlier this year. This January is such a crucial time for the club and everyone knows it. Quality reinforcements are needed and Gazidis will certainly need to hit the ground running as Wenger targets players and Gazidis is instructed to go get them. His experience handling all MLS player contracts will help in this regard.

In addition to his financial and business acumen, he sounds like the right personality for the job as well: born in South Africa, raised down the street from Highbury, and educated at Oxford Gazidis’ very first quotes speak volumes about how the man sees his place at this venerated old club:

The great thing about Arsenal is that it has been run to sustain itself. It is not dependent on an outside investor to pump money in year after year. That position is inherently a little bit unstable because it depends on one individual. Arsenal has positioned itself not to be dependent on one individual. It’s essential if Arsenal is going to be respected. This is not going to be an American coming with no understanding of Arsenal looking to make it in to a Disneyfied version of Arsenal.

Excellent start Ivan, now go sign us some talent!

Given the on-field struggles so far this season and the very acrimonious self-destruction of Gallas it’s only natural that there are already rumors flying about that Arsenal is looking to move some players. Newcastle is reportedly interested but not hopeful that they can sign Djourou and Song on loan. No, Joe, you f*cking c*nt arse cocksandwich prick, you can’t have Djourou, but maybe you could have Alex for a Song? Seriously, this is a plan with no drawbacks, Arsene and Ivan, let Song go. Then we can all stop pretending that he’s is anywhere near Arsenal quality.

There’s also a rumor that Bendtner might be going to Spartak Moscow for £5m. Seriously, this is a plan with no drawbacks, Arsene and Ivan, let Song Bendtner go. Then we can all stop pretending that he’s is anywhere near Arsenal quality.

While his play might not be Arsenal quality, Bendtner has reached a personal zenith at Arsenal saying

But I don’t think anyone at Arsenal is going to be able to compete with me on that front. I have reached the top of the outstanding boots. The only way they can beat me now is to play in diamond-encrusted boots. And I don’t think that’s going to happen for a few years.

+1 to Bendtner for having a sense of humor. Have fun in Siberia, I’m sure your pink boots will be extra outstanding in the snow.

And finally, William Gallas, the man whom Gael Clichy said “Shattered” the Arsenal team with his dumb comments, is being linked with a move to AC Milan. I suspect that a move of some sort is in the works with Gallas, he’s lost all credibility with his teammates and more importantly with Clichy. I don’t know how a central defender could stay with a club after losing the support of his partners at the back — trust there is absolutely vital and might be a clue as to why Arsenal have struggled in defense this season.

Gazidis and Arsene have their work cut out for them but I trust that they can take care of the on-field problems with just a few key signings.

Stephen Appiah

Why not? I’ve been beating this drum now since T-Town Alex convinced me to take another look at the player but I’ve been beating it from a talent perspective only. What about the financial implications? I know that Wenger supposedly has a sort of salary cap in place — that they basically have a pay scale at Arsenal with William Gallas at the top, Cesc not far behind and every other player on the team earning slightly less than the top two. Egalitarian, Wenger called it.

That said, it was this egalitarianism that prevented Arsenal from keeping Flamini. Flamini argued that since he was a free agent, and since he pays 43% in income tax to play in England, and since it would cost £10-20m to replace him, Arsenal should just pay him the transfer fee spread out over the remainder of his contract. At the time, I agreed with Flamini. It just makes sense. Damn the salary cap Wenger, say that you’re paying him a transfer bonus or whatever but keep this guy at the club.

And now, the rumor is that Stephen Appiah is making similar demands; asking for an outrageous salary due to the fact that he’s a free agent, he’s good, and whatever club signs him won’t have to pay a transfer fee. It’s a logical argument, really. Why shouldn’t Appiah make £4m+ per year? At 27 he’s pretty much at the top of his game and while there might be some fitness questions you have to think that a club could recoup whatever salary Appiah asked for in the transfer market. Think about it: you pick up Appiah, pay his outrageous salary and play him. If he’s good enough, you keep him on, if not you sell him. You sell him! You make money off his transfer. Even if it’s a £2m transfer, you still made £2m in profit. Subtract that from his retarded salary and it seems like a good deal to me.

Of course, all this hinges on Appiah playing well and not asking for a truly outrageous salary. If he played really poorly you might be saddled with a huge salary and an under-performing player and no one who wants him. And if he asked for some kind of truly insane salary (like £8m a year) you’ll never be able to unload him, because there’s only a few clubs in the world who can pay that.

So, that’s my case. There are a lot of known unknowns but I think Appiah could turn out to be a good on-field deal and a good bit of business to boot.

Arsenal had to have thought of this, right?

Ok, I’m going to have some breakfast, lay about, then pip into Doyle’s to watch a predictable and injured Tottenham lose to some other team in a competition I couldn’t care less about. It’s my birthright as an American.

*Thursday.

12
Aug
08

I’m officially worried


The squad was announced ahead of tomorrow’s match and normally I don’t do an extra blog but this is big enough news that I feel like I need to share it right away. It was revealed today that Toure, Senderos, Nasri, and Fabregas all picked up injuries and will be unavailable for the match tomorrow. Add them to Eduardo, Diaby, Rosicky, and Song and I think we can confidently say (with 8 players out) that this is a thin squad. At least Wenger sees the humor in the situation when he says that we have a “big squad at home.” Har har Arsene.

The squad was named and the boss has said that Ramsey is likely to start; if he doesn’t pick up an injury tonight somehow. For the record, Arsenal are starting a 17 year old in a crucial Champions League qualifying away match against a hungry team with a hungry manager. A 17 year old who’s closest experience at this level is a cameo during an FA Cup semi-final.

It’s official, I’m getting worried.

Arsenal squad
Manuel ALMUNIA
Lukasz FABIANSKI
Bacary SAGNA
William GALLAS
Gael CLICHY
Justin HOYTE
Johan DJOUROU
Aaron RAMSEY
Jack WILSHERE
Kieran GIBBS
DENILSON
Theo WALCOTT
Emmanuel EBOUE
Mark RANDALL
Emmanuel ADEBAYOR
Robin VAN PERSIE
Nicklas BENDTNER
Carlos VELA

The lineup will probably be:

Sagna, Djourou, Gallas, Clichy

Eboue, Denilson, Ramsey, Walcott

van Persie, Adebayor

I could also see the boss playing a sort of 4-3-3 with Walcott up front since that’s what he played last week against Juventus.

What else is there to say?  Up the Arse!




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